TitleHelen Humes oral history interview
InterviewerDance, Helen Oakley
Note(s)Helen Humes (1913-1981) was a versatile singer equally skilled with blues, swing standards, and ballads. As a child, she played piano and organ in church and made her first recordings (ten blues songs in 1927) when she was only 13 and 14. In the 1930s, she worked with Stuff Smith and Al Sears and recorded with Harry James in 1937-1938. In 1938, Humes joined Count Basie's Orchestra for three years. Since Jimmy Rushing specialized in blues, Helen Humes mostly sang pop ballads. After freelancing in New York (1941-1943) and touring with Clarence Love (1943-1944), Humes moved to Los Angeles. She began to record as a leader and had a hit in "Be-Baba-Leba," Her 1950 song "Million Dollar Secret" is a classic. Humes sometimes performed with Jazz at the Philharmonic but mostly performed solo in the 1950s. She recorded three superb albums for Contemporary during 1959-161 and toured with Red Norvo. She moved to Australia in 1964, returning to the U.S. in 1967 to take care of her ailing mother. Humes was out of the music business for several years but made a full comeback in 1973 and stayed busy up until her death. Throughout her career, Helen Humes recorded for such labels as Savoy, Aladdin, Mercury, Decca, Dootone, Contemporary, Classic Jazz, Black & Blue, Black Lion, Jazzology, Columbia, and Muse.
Table of ContentsPage numbers here indicate page numbers for "Read Online" interface. Page numbers listed on transcripts may differ.
Tape 1 Side 1...pp. 2-26
Tape 1 Side 2...pp. 27-48
Tape 2 Side 1...pp. 96-118
Tape 2 Side 2...pp. 119-142
Tape 3 Side 1...pp. 49-72
Tape 3 Side 2...pp. 73-95
Tape 4 Side 1...pp. 143-167
Tape 4 Side 2...pp. 187-187
Tape 5 Side 1...pp. 188-216
Tape 5 Side 2...pp. 217-238
Tape 6 Side 1...pp. 239-267
CollectionJazz Oral History Project
Organization NameRutgers University. Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University. Institute of Jazz Studies
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PlaceLos Angeles, CA